Dexamethasone- a Boon
The low-dose steroid treatment dexamethasone is said to cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. Also, it can reduce mortality by a fifth for those on oxygen. The researchers believe that the earlier usage of the drug could have saved around 5,000 lives in the UK. Besides, it could have proved a boon for poor developing countries in the battle against the pandemic.
The drug can help in managing the body’s deadly over-reaction called a cytokine storm. It happens when the body’s immune system goes overdrives while trying to fight the coronavirus. The drug is in use since the early 1960s for reducing inflammation in several conditions.
Trials Indicate the Ability to Reduce the Mortality Rate
Oxford University researches conducted drug trials of 2000 patients and compared the results with 4000 undrugged coronavirus patients. The tests revealed that dexamethasone could cut death risk of coronavirus patients on ventilators. Lead researcher, Prof Martin Landray, stated that for every eight patients on a ventilator, the drug could save one patient. Moreover, Chief investigator Prof Peter Horby said that this is the only drug that has proven to reduce the mortality rate.
Inexpensive and Globally Available
The drug is inexpensive and is globally available. It costs just £35 to save a life. Prof Landray mentioned that hospitals must be immediately provided with the medication. However, people should not go out and buy it themselves as it does help with milder symptoms. That apart, another drug called remdesivir (an antiviral treatment used for Ebola) appears to shorten recovery time for people with coronavirus by four days. However, this drug has limited supply, and hence the price has not been announced yet. However, the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine has failed the recovery trials as it increases fatalities and heart problems.
In all, the cheap availability of dexamethasone will help the nation to decrease fatalities.